Police in role-playing games tend to be treated as a stereotyped fixture, usually modeled after TV shows or movies. Either they are shown as heroic defenders of law and order, or as totally corrupt entities (typically under the sway of some powerful entity). In either case, they usually don’t act like real police would – sometimes because of plot reasons, but often because the GM really has no idea of how real police operate. Tales from the 13th Precinct for the new World of Darkness tries to fix that, to some extent.
It’s a sourcebook about how a police precinct (in the U.S.) would typically operate, and it also describes a fictional 13th Precinct in the equally fictional city of Midway (modeling a typical large U.S. city). While it’s obviously geared for gaming use, there is a lot of actual information about everyday police procedure here – radio use, standard operating procedures, all that stuff. This makes it a useful book for gaming in general, not just for WoD games; there isn’t much WoD-related here, most is generic description and the things that are statted (NPCs etc) are easy to convert.
The book consists of three parts. First off there is a section on general police procedure, next there is the titular “13th Precinct” with fully statted NPCs and description of the police station, and lastly the book gives you a short pre-generated police-oriented adventure. It’s nothing spectacular, but it’s decent enough. I liked the approach taken here; the general info is very useful (obviously), but having a ready-to-use pre-generated police precinct (with NPCs and internal subplots) which can be plunked into pretty much any modern game is a great thing. I’d be tempted to use this directly if I needed a detailed police force (with signature NPCs) in some game.
As the book notes, some of the procedures and equipment described here are starting to be obsolete. This is partly a realism and partly a gaming choice: realism because the latest and greatest equipment is rarely available everywhere (budget constraints are a universal constant)m, and gaming because in some cases the old equipment (or procedures) just make for better plot hooks. So no, this isn’t a 100% accurate analysis on police procedure. However, it is the most detailed such that I’ve read for gaming use. The disclaimer, of course, is that it describes the U.S. police force, methods and equipment in other countries can be quite different.